15 Sep 2007
Like most modern cities, Shanghai in China is a draw to both international visitors and Chinese nationals alike. In September 2007 I traveled some 8000 miles from London, UK to capture the city in pictures before it's old town is lost and Shanghai becomes just another sterile modern city of the 21st century. During my visit it quickly became clear that the true heart of this fast developing city appeared at night. From the banks of the Huang Pu River (called the "Mother River" by locals) in the Bund district, to the back streets of old Shanghai, this is a city that becomes awash with light, color and character as dusk falls.
Shanghai is a city of contrasts, the modern skyscrapers beautifully lit by neon advertising and light displays. But head only a few blocks away from the core tourist areas and another world is available to view. Communities live out their lives on the streets, eating, reading and generally catching up with each other. Shop workers team build by singing and dancing on the pavements outside their premises. Street food hawkers prepare chicken, fish and vegetable skewers of food for fast consumption by people on their way home. Look through any shop doorway and there is life being lived out, better than any soap opera on television perhaps?
Shanghai's skyscrapers and modern lifestyle are often seen as representing China's recent economic development. But for now traditional life can still be found away from these developments, but for how long? Only time will tell how much this city will change as it embraces the consumer led 21st century that China is very much embracing as it's future.